Dear Undergraduate Students,
As we prepare for our first day of classes on January 17, 2006, a sense of renewal, excitement and optimism is filling the campus. Hurricane Katrina had an enormous impact on Tulane University, causing you and thousands of other Tulanians to modify your plans for the fall semester.
However, with the challenges came a determination that Tulane will return stronger, more focused and with a more student-centered curriculum and campus life. For the past three months the university’s senior academic and administrative leaders have been working on a plan that will bring these aspirations to reality while maintaining Tulane’s overall academic excellence and long-term viability.
On December 8, 2005 the university’s governing board announced the plan that will help maintain those areas in which we have demonstrated world-class excellence and also develop those areas in which we have demonstrated the promise to be an academic leader. While there are a number of significant changes to the overall university structure and the curriculum in some disciplines, we expect most students to be able to complete their degree without disruption.
Tulane University will remain a research-oriented institution with a strong commitment to undergraduate education. As a result of this decision, Tulane has suspended admission to some doctoral programs. The professors involved in these programs will continue as members of the Tulane University faculty. This change will allow them to continue their nationally recognized research, but shift their teaching efforts to undergraduate studies. Virtually all undergraduate courses will be taught by full-time faculty members.
In addition, admission to a small number of undergraduate programs has been suspended. Students enrolled in these programs will be notified individually and advised of their options to continue at Tulane or transfer to another institution. The remaining programs have been realigned into a new collegiate structure. Starting in the fall of 2006, all baccalaureate level students will be enrolled in the The Undergraduate College (the College). Those students who have declared a major will also be affiliated with one of Tulane’s degree-granting schools. The College will include several features to enhance the overall Tulane undergraduate experience, including a common core curriculum for all undergraduates, a public service requirement and an expanded opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary studies. The College will also feature an expanded and centralized academic advising center intended to assist the faculty with their efforts to help undergraduates move successfully through their undergraduate experience. The College also will manage the academic component of Tulane’s expanding Residential College Program. This expansion will eventually allow all freshmen and sophomores to reside in a Residential College facility in which learning opportunities are extended from the classroom and laboratories into the living environment.
Majors will be aligned with schools as shown on this chart. The requirements to earn a degree in each major will remain under the control of the degree-granting school. Degree requirements for currently enrolled students are unchanged. New degree requirements will be in force for the freshmen class enrolling in the fall of 2006. Starting in the 2006/07 academic year, undergraduate degrees will be awarded by Tulane University upon the recommendation of the faculty of the school responsible for the content of the major. Effective fall 2006, students will no longer be admitted into the existing units of the coordinate college system—Newcomb College (for women) and Tulane College (for men). During the spring 2006 term, the Tulane University community will determine the appropriate mechanism for retaining the Newcomb and Tulane names and integrate aspects of their historic missions in light of the new approach to undergraduate education.
All students enrolling for fall 2006 and subsequent terms will be reassigned to one of the degree-granting schools based on their declared major. Students with undeclared majors remain in the College. Beginning in fall 2006, the degree-granting schools will include:
The Tulane University undergraduate experience will be further enriched by the creation of two new centers: The Center for Public Service and The Partnership for the Transformation of Urban Communities. These centers are designed to expand the connections between academic study and public service as well as to foster the cross-disciplinary study of contemporary urban issues related to infrastructure, public policy and educational support systems.
I know that you will have many questions about these changes that cannot be answered in the space of this letter. In order to provide a mechanism for addressing your concerns, we have created an “academic reorganization call center.” This center will operate from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. The call center may be reached, toll free, at (888) 862-8799 or locally at (504) 862-8799.
All of us look forward to your return to campus in January. I am confident that you are returning to an undergraduate program that continues to be strong and rich.
Lester Lefton, Ph.D